Katherine @ Pender & Peony
steaming versus ironing

Do you understand the benefits of steaming versus ironing and vice versa?  Getting out wrinkles is often the most challenging part of finishing laundry, but knowing what to steam and what to iron will help you ensure your clothing looks and feels great.  If your apartment is small, you can consider a handheld steamer.

Not even sure what a steamer is?  A steamer emits a continuous mist of steam at clothing with no need to actually touch the fabric with the steam wand, while an iron presses material flat under its hot plate.  An iron can emit a burst of steam, which helps release wrinkles, but not all fabric can withstand the heat and press of an iron.  A steamer is particularly useful for delicate clothing that cannot be ironed and does not need to be creased.  It works by relaxing the fibers rather than flattening them.

You’ve probably seen a steamer in action in a retail store. Staff use them to release wrinkles from clothing that comes packed in boxes.

What to Iron

  • Iron clothing that needs to be creased, like dress pants and button up shirts.
  • Cotton, linen, and polyester are fabrics that can withstand the heat and press of an iron.
  • Never iron velvet.

Ironing Tips

  • Be sure you set your iron to the appropriate fabric setting for each piece of clothing.
  • Use distilled water in the iron to avoid lime deposits.
  • To avoid iron sheen, turn a garment inside out and press that way.
  • Be sure to iron on a sturdy ironing board for best results.
  • Never put a freshly ironed garment on immediately.  Allow it to rest on a hanger for several minutes first.
ironing tips
learn what not to iron to avoid upsetting mistakes

What to Steam

  • Steamers are the best choice for delicate fabrics like silk, satin, jersey, wool, and clothing with elaborate embroidery or sequins.
  • Never steam acetate.
  • Steamers are very effective in smoothing pleats and ruffles.
  • Steam is great to re-shape and deodorize clothing in between washings.

Steaming Tips

  • Color test the garment to be steamed first to check for color run.
  • For a severely wrinkled garment steam it from the outside and inside.
  • Move the steam wand in sweeping motions and gently pull the fabric in the opposite direction to release deep set wrinkles.
  • Use caution while using steam, since it is easy to burn fingers while holding a piece of clothing.

Freshly pressed clothing is key to looking impeccable and well dressed. Don’t skip this all important finishing step when doing laundry, and now that you understand the difference between steaming and ironing your are better prepared to tackle wrinkled clothing with ease.

Related: Portable washing machines

Related: How to remove dark stains from whites

See Also: What to do with mismatched socks

 

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About The Author

Katherine is a historian by trade who is passionate about art and antiques. By day she manages the treasures of an international auction house and by night she indulges in her love of writing and decorating with her Southern lifestyle blog Pender & Peony. At P&P, Katherine inspires readers to decorate, entertain and navigate the South with grace, charm and gumption.

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